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A couple of days ago I was on Facebook stalking people I haven’t seen in years. I ran across an old friend from high school – wait, scratch that – I ran across an old friend from 12th grade. Only 12th grade. You see, I moved to a different state a couple of weeks before I was due to start my last year of high school. That year had some very high highs and some very low lows. The friend I was stalking a few days ago was kind to me through it all. She was the first person to talk to me and she helped make the year…bearable.

On Wednesday I realized she was working nearby so I did something on Facebook that is ironically unnatural: I told her we should get together. You see, Facebook helps you catch up with old friends without the awkward “catch-up” conversations. It allows you to keep in touch with minimal effort.

Despite my introverted nature, I sent out the invitation. Despite her introverted nature, she replied “Yeah! How’s Friday evening?” instead of the more appropriate “Yeah!” which gives no specific date or time. Apparently both of us are socially awkward in real life and through the WWW, seeing as though we can’t follow the basic norms of Facebook etiquette.

I gave her my number and we texted our way through the planning stage. We got the place and the time down with minimal effort. After making the plans, I realized it was at least six years since we had seen one another. I knew very little about her adult life. I quickly went to her profile page and read up on her interests:

We like a lot of the same tv shows, but how long can we talk about those? She somehow knew what was going on with everyone at the school, maybe she still knows. We can talk about those people! She does graphic design. I know nothing about graphic design. Man, this might be awkward. I might be awkward. I WILL be awkward! Oh well, it’s not MY fault she said yes.

We met up at Applebees. I saw her get out of her car and we warmly greeted each other. We were given our table, and I swear, even the servers felt awkward around us. I’m certain the girl who seated us could feel our discomfort radiating. She sat us down and said “Your waiter will be with you shortly. …Well, he is taking an order from the table over there so it will be just a bit… is that ok?” I wanted to say, “Yes. After all, isn’t that what you meant by be with you shortly?” but I didn’t.

My friend and I made small talk. It quickly became clear that she, too, had been researching my internet profile, making reference to last night’s blog post. We burned through topics faster than either of us had hoped. We also forgot that deciding on what to eat could burn some time and allow us to talk about current events rather than six-year-old gossip. During one of many awkward pauses she said, more to herself than to me, “I just feel weird.” YUP! ME TOO!, I wanted to scream, but I didn’t. I was expecting this to be weird.

We got through the dinner and even went for some frozen custard afterward. It wasn’t horrible. A lot of it was reminiscing but we were able to move to modern things like work, living arrangements, and national news. I really like this friend. She meant a lot to me six years ago and despite the awkwardness, I was glad to see her again!

Socially Awkward Penguin